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Prosecutor's Office: 600 illegal online casino websites blocked in Ukraine since start of 2024

by Kateryna Hodunova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 17, 2024 11:56 PM 2 min read
Slot machines in a casino. Illustrative purposes only. (Sean Murphy/Getty Images)
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At least 600 illegal online gambling websites have been blocked in Ukraine since the beginning of 2024, the Prosecutor General's Office reported.

The negative impacts of gambling, especially on the Ukrainian soldiers, have recently become a topic of public discussion in Ukraine as a petition demanding restrictions on online gambling reached the president's table in March.

President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on April 20 approving restrictions on online gambling and banning it for the military while martial law remains in force.

The maximum penalty for running a website for an illegal online casino is Hr 850,000 (around $21,500), with the deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities.

In total, law enforcement officers are investigating over 450 criminal offenses related to the illegal organization of gambling as of mid-May, the Prosecutor General's Office said.

"Among those (criminal offenses) recently exposed by law enforcement officers are an underground hall in an elite residential complex in Kyiv, where more than 50 slot machines were seized, and a network of underground poker clubs in Kyiv, Odesa, and Kharkiv," the statement read.

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Ukraine Weekly By Olga Rudenko

The founders and officials of one of the banks were also exposed for organizing an illegal gambling business.

The offenders used logos of well-known brands and mirror sites, according to the investigation. The bank raised players' funds of nearly Hr 5 billion (around $127 million), which were later legalized.

The Kyiv Pechersk District court previously seized the bank accounts of Pin-Up and Vbet, one of the major gambling platforms in Ukraine, on May 13 as part of the State Bureau of Investigation's criminal proceedings.

Prosecutor’s Office: Over 2,500 gambling websites blocked in Ukraine
More than 2,500 gambling websites that had operated without a license were blocked in Ukraine as of April 27, the Prosecutor General’s Office reported.

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